Disney TV taps McPherson

Braun makes Peacock vet exec veep, network TV

Just days after cleaning out his division, Disney’s new chairman of Buena Vista TV Prods., Lloyd Braun, made his first key hire Wednesday, naming Stephen McPherson executive vice president of network TV.

McPherson, 33, joins Disney from NBC, where he served as VP of primetime series, overseeing the development of such shows as “Just Shoot Me,” “NewsRadio” and “The Pretender.”

McPherson got to know Braun through his involvement with NBC’s three Brillstein-Grey series, “NewsRadio,” “Just Shoot Me” and “The Naked Truth.” Braun worked as a president of Brillstein-Grey before joining Disney.

In his new post, which begins July 7, McPherson will work closely with Braun again, overseeing development and production of the division’s primetime comedy and drama series, miniseries and specials.

“Steve is a gifted, well-rounded executive with outstanding taste and great passion,” Braun said in a statement. “His strong leadership skills, relationships and creative instincts will be of enormous value to us as we continue to build our TV studio.”

Sources say Braun has no plans to bring in a new president above McPherson, but is instead leaving open the possibility that McPherson will eventually learn and grow into that post himself.

Braun and McPherson are, however, likely to hire some executives below them to fill out the division. One rumored candidate for a post is JoAnn Alfano, VP of primetime series at NBC Studios.

Walt Disney TV president David Neuman, exec veep Peter Aronson and senior VP David Himelfarb are all vacating their executive posts (Daily Variety, June 8). Aronson and Himelfarb are signing production pacts with the studio, and it’s unclear where Neuman will go.

Prior to joining NBC, McPherson was senior VP of creative affairs at ABC Prods., where he helped supervise both comedy and drama series, including “My So-Called Life” and “The Commish.”

He also worked as director of current programming at Fox, where he helped launch “Martin” and “The Ben Stiller Show.” McPherson began his career as director of development for Witt-Thomas-Harris Prods.